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How To Catch Out Liars, According To Science

Discussion in 'Traditions & Beliefs' started by G R I M L O C K, May 4, 2016.

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    Contrary to what you might have heard, liars can look you in the eye - and they’re often caught on camera in court doing exactly that.

    Ponzi scheme con man Bernard Madoff was known for his steady, confident gaze - even as he defrauded his clients of billions.

    Good liars can often cover up the well-known signs of deceit - such as covering their mouths.

    So how do you catch a liar? Thankfully, there are tricks to wrong-foot liars - even very skilful ones.

    Ask them for very precise, tiny details in their story

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    Sussex University researchers found that trying to ‘trip up’ liars with precise, detailed questions was 20 times more effective than looking for ‘liar’s tells’.

    Instead of looking for physical signs, researchers tried to ‘trip up’ liars for instance, if

    someone said they worked at the University of Oxford, they would ask them how they travelled to work.

    The researchers say that interviewers should use ‘open’ questions to force liars to expand on their stories, such as ‘Can you tell me about your job’?

    Small details - such as what bus number someone got - are also easily verifiable.

    ‘There are no consistent signs that always arise alongside deception,’ says Tom Ormerod of the University of Sussex. ‘I giggle nervously, others become more serious, some make eye contact, some avoid it.’

    First, see how the liar looks when telling the truth - then spot the difference
    Police often ask questions where they know the answers first - such as establishing a subject’s address.

    Doing so helps observers see how someone looks when telling the truth, which helps to spot the moment they start to lie.

    ‘It’s really about how to observe very carefully,’ said Pamela Meyer, author of the book “Liespotting”.

    What experts look for is change from truth-telling to deception, but not one specific change.

    So they need a baseline, a sense of what people look and talk like when their guard is down and they are telling the truth.

    Once a normal is established, the idea is to ask open-ended questions and look for cues, changes in verbal and nonverbal behavior, Meyer said.

    Let the liar talk - and see how much they say

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    Liars often talk too much - in an effort to ‘flesh out’ the story, they’ll offer irrelevant details, and sometimes repeat themselves.

    Dr. Lillian Glass author of The Body Language, says, ‘When someone goes on and on and gives you too much information - information that is not requested and especially an excess of details - there is a very high probability that he or she is not telling you the truth.

    ‘Liars often talk a lot because they are hoping that, with all their talking and seeming openness, others will believe them.’

    Ask the liar to tell the story in the wrong order

    Police interrogators often ask people to tell their stories backwards - in other words, asking, ‘And what happened before that?’

    Liars who have rehearsed a ‘story’ will find it more difficult than someone who is telling the truth, according to David Matsumoto, a San Francisco State University professor of psychology.

    Get the liar to tell their story to a group

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    Relying on individual ‘hunches’ that someone is lying doesn’t often work, according to University of Chicago researchers - but if the liar is speaking to a group, that all changes.

    In experiments using game show footage, groups could detect lies with 61.7% accuracy - thanks to sharing hunches and information about potential lies.

    ‘We find a consistent group advantage for detecting small ‘white’ lies as well as intentional, high-stakes lies told for personal gain,’ says Professor Nicholas Epley.

    ‘This group advantage seems to come through the process of group discussion rather than statistical aggregation of individual opinions.’
    G R I M L O C K Z and xBree like this.
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